An entrance at the Museum of Modern Art in New York was spray-painted yesterday, August 30, by an anonymous protester or group. A video shared on Instagram by the account @savannah_luvvu showed the aftermath of the action, saying it occurred “during the daylight” at around 6pm.
The guerrilla action targeted MoMA’s staff entrance on West 53rd Street. The video shows the museum’s glass facade and revolving doors splashed with white and green paint.
“The security watched as the museum was being spray painted and failed to stop it,” a caption to the Instagram post reads. “The ‘MOMA’ is a multimillionaire dollar company. Instead of tightening their security and adding extra measures they are funding Israel which is preforming [sic] systematic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian.”
MoMA has not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.
“This is a very unsafe environment for people to go to after this video,” the anonymous Instagram user added. “I will not be going there anymore.”
Strike MoMA, a campaign organized by a coalition of activist groups named the International Imagination of Anti-National Anti-Imperialist Feelings (IIAAF), shared the video on its social media platforms but stated it was an “autonomous action.”
Throughout 10 weeks of protests outside of MoMA from early April to mid-June, Strike MoMA highlighted the “interconnected struggles” of communities across Palestine, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia. According to the activists, these international communities share a common thread: they all suffer exploitation from businesses owned by billionaires on MoMA’s board. The group charged leading MoMA trustees like Larry Fink, Steven Tananbaum, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Paula Crown, and others with profiting from war, mass incarceration, and environmental degradation. During one rally, NYPD officers detained and assaulted a protester who waved a Palestinian flag. At the height of the protest series, four activists were permanently banned from the museum after a confrontation with MoMA’s security staff. Furthermore, over 250 artists and public intellectuals signed an open letter denouncing MoMA’s alleged ties to violence against Palestinians, and artist Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill withdrew from activities at the museum in solidarity with the protesters. The Strike MoMA actions are expected to resume in September.
In a comment to Hyperallergic today, the Strike MoMA Working Group wrote: “The interlocking directorate of the board of trustees of MoMA is responsible for violence and extractivism across the globe from Palestine to the Dominican Republic. If museums continue to try to do business as usual people autonomously and creatively will choose to continue, diversify, and escalate action and organizing.”